CDC releases preparedness standards

Standards for public health preparedness capabilities were recently released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to aid state and local public health agencies in prioritizing and strategizing during budget cuts.

The 140 page "Public Health Preparedness Capabilities: National Standards for State and Local Planning" is the first of its kind from the CDC, Dave Daigle, a spokesman for the CDC's Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response, told CIDRAP News.

The document covers 15 preparedness capabilities in six categories, including biosurveillance, community resilience, countermeasures and mitigation, incident management, information management and surge management,

"One of the key challenges is the budget and fiscal times we're in, and we're hoping that this document will help them as things get tough," Daigle said, according to CIDRAP News.

Through the Public Health Emergency Preparedness cooperative, the CDC provides funds and technical assistance to state, local and territorial health departments. Grants from the PHEP have reached approximately $700 million annually in recent years.

PHEP funding, however, has been in decline as of late, leading public health officials to fear their ability to maintain preparedness gains reached with the aid of federal support following the 2001 terrorist attacks.

"State and local planners likely will need to make difficult choices about how to prioritize and ensure that federal dollars are directed to priority areas within their jurisdictions," the report says, CIDRAP News reports.